Broadcast or conversation – has the decision been made?

The way social media is being used by organisations is something I am very interested in. Social media was added to the communication toolbox around five or more years ago and a lot has happened since then. In the early days, it was new, untested, unknown and the easiest way to deal with it was in the same way as other media – just push out information. So what has changed in 2014?

For some organisations finding a way to move from broadcast to communication is quite challenging and not easy to achieve. There are many reasons for this; from the concern about the risk of opening up, issues about who manages social media channels for an organisation, and of course the inevitable time that is going to be taken up being involved in conversations. I can understand all these reasons but five years and counting can we really remain in broadcast mode?

In short I suppose we can, but when your organisation faces a crisis or some critical issue then remaining in broadcast mode will not satisfy the increasingly tech savvy public. When the banks faced a technical glitch they were criticised for not responding quickly enough to the questions they received from customers using social media. The easiest way for any member of the public to ask a question to any company or organisation is through social media. And whether you are listening or not they will continue to ask questions and make statements about the service or goods you provide.

There is always a concern about the style and tone that corporate entities use on social networks. Many large institutions have struggled to be able to adapt to the informalities of the new channels of communication. But as many have achieved it we know it can be done.

Is it then really a realistic position to take to move onto Twitter, Facebook etc but only use them in the same way as sending out a media release? This is surely taking the social out of social media.

For as many problems and challenges that there are for organisations there are more opportunities and benefits. Building trust and confidence in the service you provide has to be a critical issue for public sector communicators and obviously for those with something to sell increasing trust can mean a boost in sales. Social networks provide a way to have direct communication with those interested in your organisation and all at the touch of a button. Used well it can create advocates for your work, share vital information, and provide a window into the less obvious activities of the organisation.

In 2014 are we going to see the end of social media feeds that just broadcast information? If you have been operating as broadcast is that a decision that can remain or is this the year to make a change?

What advice do you have to help organisations make the move from broadcast to having meaningful conversations on social networks?

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2 Responses to Broadcast or conversation – has the decision been made?

  1. gordon scobbie says:

    Amanda. Totally agree, but then you know I have been saying this for years! Policing has made great advances in the use of social media, but most forces are still in ‘broadcast’ rather than ‘engage’ mode, and few have probably even considered the ‘collaborative’ stage yet. Lots to do but I remain optimistic!


  2. Spot on, Amanda. There are all sorts of benefits to embracing social customer service. Follow the eyes, it’s where the people are. There can be improvements to the organisation’s reputation by openly responding to issues, where appropriate.


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